Learning How to Teach

Trip Start Jan 10, 2005
Trip End Apr 01, 2007

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Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Well, I have jumped right in...I have successfully given three charlas to thirty, 9 and 10 year olds! The first, was more than a little rocky with the topic being self-esteem. I made them make personal flags about their lives. It always sounds easier said than done. I asked them to think of their greatest achievement, who they idealize, if they could be any animal what would they be, their aspirations, etc. It took a long time to explain these questions because to many of them they had never thought about such things before. So, despite all of my miss pronounced words and constant 'eye pleading' with the teacher to explain an idea that I just couldn't get across, the kids walked away with a flag about themselves and maybe a thought for their future.

The second charla, I had loads of fun making and giving. It was titled Sex vs. Gender and I was floored by how these kids have no peņa (embarrassment) about their reproductive body parts. In Nicaragua, I had been warned about how hard it is to get people to do things amongst their friends for fear of PENA!!! Well, with these kids, it simply didn't exist. I'd ask a question and I get boys and girls yelling PENE (penis), VAGINA, PECHOS (boobs), etc. I couldn't help but laugh. For an activity, I had made two bodies, male and female, without any of their sexual organs. Also, I made cut outs of the male and female reproductive systems. I asked for two volunteers to come up to the front of the class, where I hung these gorgeous bodies around their necks....and that's when I finally got the red cheeks! We played battle of the sexes and they had to place the correct parts in the correct locations. It was hilarious! They really got in to it. I snapped a photo, and that's when they went wild. Lesson learned: need to have strict rules before I try to take group photos because this time it failed miserably.

By the third charla, I am learning that it takes an incredible amount of time to prepare for an hour class, once a week. Granted, I am making these charlas excellent the first time because I have no intention of remaking them and plan on giving them numerous times. However, they take a week to prepare each one! For the third charla, I am feeling pretty comfortable with the kids, I know they enjoy my class, and this is helping the class flow better. However, this time the teacher tells me she will not be in class the day I give my charla. "No problem," I think. "I can handle it." Lesson in Classroom Management learned. Glad I had brought my rules with me and I realized that I really needed to be ready to enforce the ultimate rule, "If the class goes to shit, I leave." Luckily, we didn't even come close and the charla went over fairly well. The title was my favorite word, Pubertad (puberty.) I don't know what it is about this word, but I hate it. It is one of those words that gives me a bad taste in my mouth, but se la vi. Now, I am talking for an hour about it!

Sometimes no matter how much I practice pronouncing certain words, when I have to say them in front of others, it is like I've never said the word in my life. Well, it was like that with "espermatozoides" (sperm)!! Yeah, I am not kidding. Trying saying that word! Ha! So sometimes 9 year olds are my Spanish teachers too!

Hope you enjoyed this entry. Sometimes I just laugh at my life! I hope you can too. I miss you all more than you can know. It brightens my day to see your names in my email inbox. Write when you can. Love you 'all muchas!!!
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